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Lake District Lodging Quandary

I know there have been several posts related to lodging in the Lake District - but I would hugely appreciate your help.. We are doing some advance planning for a 3 week trip to Northern England, 5 days of which will be spent in the Lake District, in early May 2020. We will be traveling from Northumberland (likely Alnwick or Bewlford) and heading to Southampton after our Lake District visit.

My husband like easy walks and, while he walks, I’ll head to the nearby historic attractions of Hilltop, the Wordsworth homes, Keswick Museum, Brantwood, Blackwell House and plan on a lake cruise. We will have a car and I’d prefer lodging with reasonably easy access to good roads (reasonably convenient to where I’ll be going), good food and lovely surroundings.

These are my current options —

Hazel Bank Country House Hotel, Borrowdale, Rosthwaite, Keswick
Lyzzick Country House, near Keswick
Craigwood Country House, Windemere
Waterhead Hotel, Ambleside

What do you think??

Thank you SO much!!

Posted by
1319 posts

Hi crooney55 -

As I suspected you’ve already guessed, there’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer to this.

BUT as you are travelling from the north east it makes more sense to head for Keswick as that’s where you’ll logically arrive at first. Plenty of low level/easy strolls, you can cruise Derwentwater and the roads into and through the Lakes south are pretty good.

Nothing wrong with Windermere/Bowness or Ambleside and they too offer cruises and walks and are handier for Hill Top Farm, but they are the main point of access for the majority of Lake District visitors and the roads thereabouts can be horrifically busy as can the towns themselves. They are all rather more ‘touristy’ than Keswick.

I have a soft spot for Coniston, and Brantwood is best reached from there (no getting away from pretty narrow roads whichever way you approach Brantwood though) and cruising Coniston (the Lake) on the steam powered ‘Gondola’ is a unique experience, but it’s not so well situated for all the other sites you wish to fit in.

I recommended Rosthwaite to somebody else on these forums the other day, but they were looking to attempt more ambitious hikes than yourselves I think. It’s a lovely spot, but there’s not a heck of a lot there and you’d need to head back towards Keswick to get on the major roads through the Lakes to head south for, say, the Wordsworth houses.

In summation, on this occasion I think the Keswick area will serve your needs best, it may be though that after some research you’ll feel differently. As I said, no definitive ‘right’ answer. Wherever you decide to stay I hope you have a great trip!

Ian

Posted by
258 posts

Ian, thank you so much for confirming that there are no 'wrong' answers - just better ones! (trukly, I've pored over town after town and lodging after lodging:)). Now that we've reduced my quandary to Keswick, would you have thought on Hazel Bank vs Lyzzick - or other suggestions? I think that both are a bit out of the way bit that Hazel Bank is close to bus transport to Keswick, if I don't want to drive.

Thanks again!

Posted by
1319 posts

Hello again -

Having pored over the relevant OS map, I can confirm that there IS a ‘right’ answer between the two accommodations and you are right to go with Hazel Bank. While Lyzzick Country House is nearer to Keswick, if you weren’t keen on driving, it is not actually in Keswick and bus options in and out are few and far between - one a day? So if you were to stay there the local taxis would be earning a decent living off you during your stay, or, you’d be faced with driving in and out of Keswick. Perhaps now is a good time to mention that the public ‘pay and display’ car parks in central Keswick are eye wateringly expensive (I expect because they have a captive audience) and while there is some free on-street parking, finding a space is the stuff of nightmares and might still involve a lengthy hike back into town!

Hazel Bank, on the other hand, is walkable from the ‘centre’ of Rosthwaite - the actual bus stop is described as ‘General Store, Rosthwaite’ which should give you an indication of the fact that it’s tiny! There is a fairly regular bus service - the number 78 apparently - which runs once an hour as a minimum. It does run more frequently, every half hour by the looks of things, but this is dependent on when you are staying. I think it might have something to do with when the schools are open, but don’t quote me. A search for ‘buses from Keswick to Rosthwaite’ should turn up a current timetable for you to take a look at.

It has been a little while since I was last in Rosthwaite, but as I recall there is the Sca Fell Hotel which may do meals and which used to have a ‘hikers bar’ out the back overlooking the stream, which I have fond memories of, and there is a tea room/cafe ‘The Flock Inn’ which amongst other things, serves ‘Herdy Burgers’ (burgers made from Herdwick mutton one assumes - never tried one myself). All this needs confirming because as I said it’s been some time since I was last there. Will have to remedy that situation!

Trust there’s enough here for you to make a call on!

Ian

Posted by
3122 posts

As a side note, you may want to know that the public restrooms in Keswick aren't by the TI office. They are at the Pay & Display parking lot and not very well signposted.

Posted by
3392 posts

Borrowdale is one of my favorite areas of the lakes and it sounds like you've landed on Hazel Bank...excellent choice! The area is just idyllic but it does rain a lot at that end of the valley. The walks from there are lovely...you can walk around Derwentwater - or part way. There is a great little place right on the river by the bridge in Grange that serves an excellent cream tea. Such a gorgeous part of the Lake District! You can catch the launch at that end of the lake in two places...one dock if you walk a little way up east side and another to the west. The launch circles the lake and you can get on and off as you like...one of the docks is right at Keswick. You can go into town then ride the launch back. They are beautiful old wooden boats.

Posted by
258 posts

I've been watching the weather and it does seem too rain rather a lot in Borrowdale. But, then again, this is England and rain is just
one of those things, like Paddington and cream teas! So many choices - Borrowdale is top of the list but I'm still wandering thru reviews of other options with things to do (or simply stay inside) in case of inclement weather. It's great to plan far ahead - Thank you so much!!

Posted by
258 posts

Ian, I think that Hazel Bank is in the lead, but, Craigwood and the Glamarama in Seatoller are also on the list. If you have thoughts on any of these choices, I'd bet most appreciative!

Posted by
1319 posts

Hi -

Seatoller, as you’ll have noticed, is just round the corner from Rosthwaite, so I guess it all boils down to the choice of the hotel you prefer. Of the two places I’d suggest Rosthwaite is possibly a little better - more/slightly easier options.

Personally, staying in Windermere would never be my first best choice. Windermere/Bowness IS the Lake District for many visitors so it is always very busy with day trippers, coach tours etc., and I sometimes think pricing in the area reflects that. Sure, it’s handier for the likes of Hill Top and Brantwood, but if I were concentrating on there I’d head for maybe Hawkshead, which is smaller and still quite busy but away from the bigger crowds. If you want to really get away from it - and you’d definitely need a car to get to these - I’ve stayed at the Drunken Duck above Ambleside and the Ees Wike Hotel near Esthwaite. Both of these were some time ago so my info on those is not that up to date. More recently we went for dinner at the Eltermere Hotel in Elterwater which was lovely (but we were staying in the youth hostel round the corner!). The Britannia Inn at Elterwater does accommodation but has always been really busy - people falling out of the doors busy - when I’ve been (except for one autumn visit) but remains a very popular choice for those wanting the authentic rustic Inn/pub experience!

I think Rosthwaite is perhaps the option I’d go with for a first trip. I know the rainfall stats, but if it isn’t raining that’s not a problem and if it is, more than Rosthwaite will be getting wet!

Ian

Posted by
258 posts

Ian, let me just say 'thank you' again - I feel as though you've become my "travel angel" ! You've convinced me that the 'north', near Keswick, would be best. Although we're tourists, we prefer to stay away from the madding crowd and, so, Rosthwaite it will be. The very best!!

Posted by
1319 posts

Hi -

You’re more than welcome. Of course all opinions are highly subjective and I’m sure that there are others who will tell you I’m talking out of the top of my hat (or worse!), but all I can tell you is what I would do given the same options.

I hope you have a really great time. The Lake District is a wonderful place and I’m by no means the only person to come to that conclusion!

Ian